As China Speeds Up Nuclear Arms Race, the U.S. Wants to Talk

That appeared to be at the core of Mr. Sullivan’s first concern: establishing lines of communication between the two militaries, of the kind the United States and Russia have had for decades. (He avoided the use of the word “nuclear” in his talk, a reflection of how space, cyberweapons and other high technologies need to be part of the conversation, Mr. Biden’s senior aides say.)

On Capitol Hill, the conversation so far is largely about matching the Chinese investment, rather than rethinking the nature of the arms race.

“I’m very concerned,” Rose Gottemoeller, an arms control official in several administrations who now teaches at Stanford University, said in an interview. “What’s worrying me is the automaticity of the actions — of more nuclear weapons and more missile defenses without thinking if there’s a smarter way.”

Mr. Xi and Mr. Biden, American officials said, agreed to further conversations — but there was no commitment on how deep those would go. Asked whether the talks would include the topic of arms control, the National Security Council, in a statement, said, “No. What we are seeking — and what Jake Sullivan spoke about — are conversations with empowered interlocutors” about “guardrails to reduce risk or the chance of miscalculation.”

The history of those conversations is not encouraging. For years, across several administrations, the United States tried to get Chinese officials to talk about how they would secure nuclear weapons in North Korea if the nation collapsed. The effort was to avoid a collision among Chinese, South Korean and American forces seeking to find and secure loose weapons. The Chinese have always demurred, perhaps for fear of being caught talking about the possibility of the North’s collapse.

It is possible, many arms control experts say, that the Chinese buildup is motivated by the deployment of U.S. missile defenses in the Pacific — land-based systems in California, Alaska, Guam and South Korea, and aboard ships patrolling off Japan and the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. has always insisted that these systems are designed to deter North Korea. But the Chinese government has long voiced worries that North Korea’s nuclear program provides a convenient excuse for the United States to build a system aimed at containing Chinese nuclear weapons.

China and the United States have never engaged in a detailed discussion of missile defenses in the Pacific. But the hypersonic test may force the issue, independent experts say, because it is clear Beijing’s ambitions are expanding.

White House Says It Does Not Keep Visitor Logs at Biden’s Delaware Home

WASHINGTON — White House officials said on Monday that there are no visitor logs that keep track of who comes and goes from President Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington, Del., where six classified documents were discovered in recent days. A top House Republican demanded on Sunday that the White House turn over visitor logs for […]

Know More

A Florida School Received a Threat. Did a Red Flag Law Prevent a Shooting?

The requests were granted. But the results of the search were not what the detective expected. Memories of Parkland Nationally, more than 20,000 petitions for extreme risk protection orders were filed from 1999 to 2021, according to data collected by Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group. A vast majority of those petitions — more […]

Know More

A Colossal Off-Year Election in Wisconsin

Lauren Justice for The New York Times Conservatives have controlled the court since 2008. Though the court upheld Wisconsin’s 2020 election results, last year it ruled drop boxes illegal, allowed a purge of the voter rolls to take place and installed redistricting maps drawn by Republican legislators despite the objections of Gov. Tony Evers, a […]

Know More